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Jun 29 2016

Discovering Costa Rica

Discovering Costa Rica

Working full-time gives me money to travel far and wide, but there is a trade-off.  Like many other people, I am limited to taking holidays and don’t have the opportunity to travel for an extended period of time.  Obviously, there has to be some compromise, but I still want to travel my way – independently, with no real plan.  I like to travel around on public transport.  In Costa Rica, this proved challenging and, at times, it was too difficult with the time I had.

Even though I only had 12 days, I managed to see and do a fair bit.  I also had plenty of time to chill out and relax before returning to work.  As you would expect from a country with almost 6% of the world’s biodiversity, I came across a variety of flora and fauna, including toucans, which made my trip.  Did you know that Costa Rica has over 60 volcanoes?  Well, as you can imagine, I saw a few of those while I was there, as well as natural thermal springs.  To end my trip, I headed to the beach to explore the ‘Rich Coast’.

This is a summary of my trip:

Rincon de la Vieja – La Fortuna – Nicoya Peninsula

Days One to Four – Rincón de la Vieja

Rincon de la Vieja - discovering Costa RicaI actually stayed near rather than in Rincón de la Vieja National Park, but I was on a chocolate farm.  Costa Rica is famed for it’s flora and fauna.  I was completely surrounded by it, so that was a great start to my trip.  Seeing Chestnut-mandibled Toucans and other colourful birds at breakfast isn’t an every day occurrence, so it was great to experience that.   Oh, and staying on a chocolate farm was heavenly.  I learned how to make chocolate, indulged in chocolate tasting, and had a relaxing, outdoor massage which included the use of chocolate husks to exfoliate my feet.  

I did get to Rincón de la Vieja National Park one day, and saw some Capuchin and Howler monkey.  They seemed a little shy, which was a shame.  We came across some sulphur ponds because it is a volcanic area.   I got in, rubbed the mud on my face for a face mask, but I couldn’t stay in too long because of the smell.  It was awful.

Days Five to Seven – La Fortuna

La Fortuna - discovering Costa Rica

For the next few days, I headed off by bus to La Fortuna to see the Arenal Volcano.  While I was there, I finally got a clear view of the volcano, and I bathed in some natural thermal springs.  I also spent some time at Lake Arenal, saw some cute, mischievous coates, and went to the waterfall.

Days Eight to Twelve – The Nicoya Peninsula

Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

How could I go to Costa Rica, ‘The Rich Coast’, without going to the beach?  I couldn’t, so I headed to the Nicoya Peninsula and stayed near a small beach town called Tambor.  It took me a whole day to get there on public transport – three buses and a ferry!  Well, actually it was two buses because I missed the last bus due to delays, so my host picked me up.

While there, I went to Curu National Park to see some Capuchin monkeys and other wildlife, and I went snorkelling near Isla Tortuga.  I hiked to a waterfall and had a surfing lesson in Montezuma, and I swam with horses in Santa Teresa.  Yes, you read that right.  While I was paddling in the sea, three horses decided to cool off in the sea with us.

That was it.  My 12 days were up.  It was time to head back to the UK via the US.  Considering I didn’t have much of a plan and had such a short period of time, I managed to see and do a fair bit without running myself ragged.  All in all, it was a great holiday in a fabulous, albeit expensive country.

Location

This map gives you an idea of some of the places I visited:

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Have your say

Have you been to Costa Rica?  If so, where did you go?  If not, is it on your ‘bucket list”?

About the author

Teresa Keane

Teresa has been to almost 60 countries. She started travelling independently at the age of 38 when she gave up her job, rented out her house, put her possessions in storage and spent a year travelling the world. It changed her life. She now creates, publishes, & promotes online travel content and is an experienced freelance trainer & EFL teacher.

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